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Al Jazeera World News

News/Business. Independent global news offers a variety of perspectives.

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00:30:00

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PG-13;V

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ac3

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Thailand 6, Germany 6, Australia 5, Pakistan 5, Mars 4, India 4, Europe 3, Damascus 3, France 2, Venezuela 2, Hugo Chavez 2, Chavez 2, Chavis 2, Kashmir 2, Sydney 2, U.s. 2, Bangkok 2, Syria 2, Moscow 2, Boeing 1,
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  LINKTV    Al Jazeera World News    News/Business. Independent global  
   news offers a variety of perspectives.  

    January 9, 2013
    5:30 - 6:00am PST  

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>> 48 iranians held hostage by syrian rebels set free with a swap deal. lo, this is al jazeera live from doha. also, the -- poverty in europe. what it is like to live on the edge of an economic powerhouse. india summons pakistan's top diplomat over the killing of two
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of its soldiers. the soap opera that was pulled off the air in thailand. was it too violent or just to political? >> morning and 2000 prisoners are to be released by the syrian government in exchange for 48 iranian hostages. the iranian men were kidnapped in august by rebel forces, and they delivered an ultimatum october saying they would kill the hostages if syrian prisoners were not released. the swap was brokered by a turkish charity. for more let's bring in hashem, joining us near the border with syria. what do we know on the swap deal? >> the main charity, the humanitarian based assistance
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that broker the deal, they said the prisoner swap is under way. 48 iranians were released on the outskirts of the capital and 2100 syrians are to be released in different areas. damascus, homs, hana -- so it is going to take a few hours during the day before the whole process is completed. what is happening is the following. measures from a aid agency along with it -- officials from the ministry of the interior are monitoring the prisoner swap. it is very crucial, very critical. they have to ensure that all the prisoners are to be released today. four of them are turkish nationals. we have been asking the spokesperson of the charity about the circumstances of the
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arrest inside syria. they said only civilians, without elaborating. we have to remind our viewers that the iranians -- back in august, the rebels said they were revolutionary guard from iran to clamp down on the rebels. it was the missed by the ministry saying they were programs on a visit to shia shrines in damascus. >> thank you very much. we will leave it there. meanwhile, palestinian factions are calling for a cease-fire in a refugee camp in the syrian capital damascus. home to about 150,000 palestinian refugees but u.n. chief ban ki-moon estimates two- thirds might have fled the violence. some palestinians support the regime while others joined rebel forces. fighting broke out in the camp a month ago. al jazeera has gained rare access to fighters near aleppo. they have been launching an
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attack on the military airport. the u.s. has called it an al qaeda desolate organization. a grim picture -- unemployment in the eurozone is at record levels. incomes have dropped and the number of poor is grown. the european union said nearly a quarter of the population is at risk of poverty or social exclusion. that means they can't afford to pay their bills or heat their homes. what is known as severe material deprivation. or it could mean the income falls below a nationally set threshold, which is called a relative poverty. nowhere member states like bulgaria and romania, that is where almost half the population has been affected. struggling eurozone members greece and spain are also dealing with their own rising levels of poverty, for up to the quarter and a third of all people. even in germany, the economic powerhouse, about one out of five people fall into at least one of the you poverty categories tariff a report from
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the capital, berlin. >> poverty is a relative thing. in germany, it needs skimping on visits to the doctor and not being able to pay for heat in winter or for fresh food. that is why these people wait their turn in this church, where handouts of fruit and vegetables help them at least stay healthy in the cold weather. >> you can make ends meet, if you are careful. this is all a cashen of rationing yourself. you have to lower your expectations. >> this kind of poverty jars with the mental imagery we have of germany as a wealthy powerhouse economy in europe. but you have to break down the statistics a little bit to understand. for example, germany has an unemployment rate of under 6% but a poverty rate of around 16%. it means you can have a job and still be poor. there is no minimum wage in germany. though the current government is thinking of creating one ahead of next year's elections.
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around 7 million people in germany are working at so-called mini jobs, kerning $530 a month, a relatively paltry amount, less than one-fifth the national average what is worse, the wage gap is widening. a trendy opposition and media accused the government of trying to hide in a recent report on income. >> we have a well-to develop low income sector where people are working in tempore situations. it means they cannot get out of the situation by working -- working in poor situations. >> of the increase in the number of working poor came about after the very reforms that may germany so competitive in europe. a competitive edge paid for in many ways by those who can least afford it. al jazeera cumberland. >> india has made an official
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protest to neighboring pakistan after two soldiers were killed in kashmir. india's summer and -- summoned but pakistani high commissioner to explain. the army said pakistani troops killed the men after crossing a line of control tuesday. in pakistan they say the accusations are propaganda. it pakistani soldier was killed in the same region last week. the indian foreign minister called for calm on both sides. >> our intent has been conveyed very clearly. our anxiety has been conveyed very clearly. and we would expect an appropriate response from that side. i can once again repeat that this is completely unacceptable. at the same time, i think it is very important we make sure that whatever happened should not be escalated. we cannot and must not allow for an escalation of a very unwholesome event that has taken place. >> south african farm workers
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have gone on strike and are demanding double their minimum daily wage. they fired rubber bullets at striking bullets -- most of the strikers are part-time workers in the booming agricultural sector. the town has been a sector of farming strikes thus began last year. here is the latest. >> the rally was supposed to be held here in the area where i am right now. what ended up happening is police are trying to block a couple of hundred protesters from this side of the bridge from joining a couple of hundred from the other side. those protesters started to throw rocks at passing vehicles came -- carrying produce and taxi they believe caring people who are reporting for work today. they started throwing rocks at the vehicles along the road. police moved in. they tried to disperse the crowd by firing rubber bullets. but it was not successful. now the police have retreated.
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we cannot see them anywhere. now the protesters have really laid claim to the area behind me. they closed down the highway. they set some tires of light and move the big rocks onto the road and not letting anyone through. >> a japanese airliner says it has canceled a domestic flight on the boeing save -- 787 dreamliner because of problems with the brakes. it comes after two mishaps in as many days for another japanese airline. on tuesday a flight was forced to cancel takeout from boston after a fuel leak was discovered on the left wing. the venezuela could be heading for a political crisis after the country's parliament voted to postpone hugo chavez's nomination -- inauguration. he is recovering from cancer surgery. more from caracas. >> the confirmation came. the president of the legislative body read a letter by vice- president maduro, saying based
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on the recommendation of his medical team, hugo chavez will not be able to attend his inauguration thursday. >> because of this, we invoke article 231 of the constitution of the as well as -- venezuela. thank you in -- at a time for the attention you pay to this community. long live chavez. >> people and places like this one are not giving up on chavez, but there is a growing resignation they may not see him back for a while. that is precisely the wary of those who uphold -- oppose the government. they claim they authorities are not telling the people the whole truth about the president's health. there will be no inauguration on thursday, but the government has called on chavis' supporters to rally next to the presidential palace. and officials insist the chavez
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swearing in can be delayed after the president has recovered. the opposition claims any delay would be unconstitutional. the supreme court is soon expected to issue rulings on parts of the constitution related to the ongoing debate. if the government wants to target the one way, the government the other way, what do we do? interpret it as a what? we have to look at an answer from the supreme court. i did not know what the judges are waiting for. >> despite the government's announcement, everyone is venezuelan are still wondering if and when chavis will return. the big question is what will happen next if he cannot. al jazeera, caucus. >> still ahead, dozens of community -- communities under threat as a brush fires raged in australia.
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a new season of "witness" begins january 28. >> hello within. top stories this hour. the syrian government has agreed to release more than 2000 prisoners in exchange for 48 hostages held by rebels. the iranian and turkish men were killed -- kidnapped by rebel forces in august. unemployment in the eurozone is at record levels. the european union says nearly a
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quarter of its population is at risk of poverty or social exclusion. in germany, about one out of five people fall in at least one of the eu poverty categories. india has officially made a protest to pakistan after two soldiers were killed in kashmir. the army says pakistani troops calls -- crossed a line of control, entering indian territory and poppa stein denied the accusation as propaganda -- pakistan deny the accusations as propaganda. >> in southeastern australia, firefighters are battling nearly 200 bushfires as hundreds of people have been forced to leave their homes. one family who escaped the blaze that destroyed their home by hiding under a jetty, and they watched as several of their neighbors' houses burned down. the town in tasmania is one of the worst affected by the fires. andrew thomas has more. >> firefighters are racing to
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and through the latest blaze before it could get out of control. more than 150 wildfires raged in a study overnight and into wednesday morning. given the extent of the fires, in the worst conditions australia has had in many years, damage to buildings was remarkably light. this historic house in the southern state of victoria was the exception rather than the roll. although daylight revealed the devastation, it was one of just a handful of properties destroyed. new south wales got off more lightly still. plenty of land scorched but -- scorched but few homes, thanks to a mass of firefighting effort coordinated from a central control room on the scale of a space mission. the remarkable weather across australia has broken so many records that australia's meteorologist have had to revise temperature scales. a previous cap of 50 degrees celsius or 152 degrees fahrenheit, has proved inadequate this week.
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two entirely new colors, deep purple and pink, can be seen on weather charts. there has -- it has been much, much cooler in sydney and seven australia wednesday it than tuesday. but it is only temporary relief. more hot weather will sweep toward the weekend, breaking more records and potentially feeling more fires, too. al jazeera, sydney. >> a delegation led by u.s. politician bill richardson is calling on north korea to end missile launches and open the internet. the group, which includes google chairman eric smith toward a state library in penang. the visit has been criticized by the state department, it comes weeks after north korea launched a rocket into space. >> we have been meeting with a variety of foreign affairs officials, internet officials, scientists, political leaders, and of the delegation has have
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three messages -- first, a moratorium on missile launches and no nuclear tests. secondly, the american detainee, treat him properly, give him proper justice. third, expand the internet, expand sell phones. that is good for the north korean people. >> a thai television channel's decision to cancel a popular soap opera caused an uproar. the show revolves around black magic and corrupt politicians. some people suspect the government is behind the move to pull the final episodes. >> with one episode remaining, it was pulled from air, leaving viewers hanging. according to an on-screen message on channel 3, the finality had content that was inappropriate to broadcast. it translates to "above the clouds" and it is about a prime
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minister, his corrupt deputy and a sorcerer who manipulates both. the conclusion many jumped to, including the opposition democratic party, which was maybe the final episode was too sensitive for the government and so there was political interference. >> the government does not go in and tell television stations what they can put on the air. it is up to the television channels themselves, or the producers of the shows that task to take the social response ability. >> it is ironic the first big political drama of the year is about a television soap opera. at times, high politics can seem like a real-life soap opera. there is always plenty of intrigue and a rumor and even sometimes allegations of extramarital affairs and murder. in thailand, transparency can be difficult to find and sensitive issues are often not discussed openly and i left to simmer, leading to innuendo and
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speculation. it took channel 35 days before releasing a statement saying there was no political interference -- its of channel 3 5 days before releasing a statement. >> this country by and large -- we do not know how to live in the urban society. to avoid confrontation. superstition. >> unusual censorship is nothing new in thailand. in this case, channel 3 said it was a case of self censorship and not dark political forces at work. it also was not left for the viewers decide for themselves. in a democratic country where politics is everywhere, for some, this felt like a dictatorial decision. al jazeera, bangkok. >> let's discuss this. a cultural commentary based in
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the thai capital of bangkok. are you surprised about the backlash of this has caused, especially over social media? >> everyone is surprised, because of this soap opera in particular was not that popular. it had been running for a month already and was due to end with one or two episodes, and people were not really concentrating on it until it got canceled and channel 3 did not give a clear explanation, until they finally came out with this thing that it was violent. but if you look at the soap opera now, which is everyone is doing, going back and analyze it and try to match it to possible real-life characters, there is an intriguing aspect. one is that thailand has a version of an fbi, federal bureau of investigation, called the special bureau of investigation. in the soap opera, there is a tsi, a similar character, and he
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is the bad guy. >> the are a lot of parallels that are being drawn. there are a lot of theories as well everyone such theory behind the cancellation is it was ordered by thaksin shinawatra, the former prime minister in exile in dubai and shows he has political influence in thailand. the ruling party has dismissed it. do you buy that theory? >> well, the government has denied it. there has been no evidence to show that they did cantaloupe. this, of course, could ultimately play out in some way. that is another chapter of the soap opera we have yet to see. but the fact that channel 3's license is up for grabs and there is an investigation going on whether their license should be renewed, maybe they got cold feet. they are saying they practiced self censorship.
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violence? there is a lot of violence on soap operas. now the government is saying, if that is the reason, we want to see the tapes. >> the opposition is now really capitalizing on it. >> yes, they have been seizing on anything because this is a popularly elected government. and the opposition is having a very, very difficult times now. in another case, you could look at the soap opera, maybe the ending was going to be that the prime minister is coming to be assassinated. we are not sure. there is speculation about the plot. is that too violent for thailand? there aspects and the real world. but they painted themselves into a corner. they created a problem among their own audience. >> richard, we will leave it there. thank you said -- very much. talking to us from bangkok. striking journalists at china's southern weekly newspaper have agreed to go back to work.
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the rare standoff in guangdong province followed a and growl over censorship. editors and reporters walked out after -- there was an editorial piece that called for political reform. the first result of a simulated mission to mars experiments are being revealed. findings suggest not all astronauts would have the right qualities to be able to cope on a real interplanetary missions. >> 520 days cut off from the outside world. in a space mission that went up celaeno where perry in 2010, of the crew of mars 500 entered what could only be described as another reality. one that measure did just a few meters wide. the aim -- to stimulate what -- is -- simulate what it would be like to carry out a trip to mars. the team were confined to a tiny capsule. no windows, and the crew had to endure recycled air and
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dehydrated food. mars is millions of kilometers from the earth. but the would-be astronauts were never very far from the scientists monitoring them in a moscow hangar. they even carried out in space work in a sand pit. what was impossible, though, was to mock up the weightlessness they would experience on a real journey into space. a mission to mars is still decades away, and scientists will have to design a spacecraft that could endure such a long journey. but the experiment was trying to find out is what the impact might be on the human mind and body. when the men emerged from the capsule almost a year and a half after going in, there were smiles for the camera. but the study certainly took its toll. within weeks of the mission starting, there were changes in some of the men's sleeping patterns. >> we found the crew members, many of them increased their sleep time with time in mission
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but there was one crewmember consciously or subconsciously at salicylate shorter and shorter, and he was the one who was responsible for 80% of the errors. >> what is telling, though, is while the capsule of the men did not go anywhere they did complete the experiment, determined to do the groundwork for future space travel. al jazeera, moscow. >> actor gerard depardieu explain why he did not turn up to a french court to face a drunk driving charge. he was speaking in montenegro, where he was actually meeting with the prime minister there. his lawyer says the actor was not trying to dodge justice. he had promised that he would return to france, but he denies he did anything wrong. >> i am not a criminal. i skidded on my scooter and fell asleep. even if i eat a salad with too
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much vinegar i have too much alcohol in my blood. the battle -- matter is settled. all is well and i could return to my home in france. the police like me a lot. >> las vegas is hosting the largest consumer electronics show in the world. the event highlights our ever growing dependency on mobile technology. but what are the side effects? rob reynolds has more. >> many great leaps forward in information technology and computing were made here at the california institute of technology. in his lab, this electrical engineering professor is working on a project. he says information technology is ushering in a new stage in human social development. >> in a way, you could argue we are becoming part of a larger organisms through interconnection. that we are experiencing. it creates a lot more global awareness. you can pretty much know about
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what is going on in every corner of the world. almost instantaneously. >> 40 years ago, the internet was in its infancy. cell phones were big and clunky and the smartphone was over a decade away. laptop computers, let alone today's tablets an ultrathins, did not exist. when george bush became president, there was no facebook. if youtube were a child, it would barely be out of kindergarten. the ipod is just a teenager. iphone and ipad still in diapers, figure to release speaking. they are so new yet so ubiquitous that a whole generation can hardly imagine life without digital helpmates. >> it has become so omnipresent. one little one that comes out and you think, we don't really need that. two weeks later you are using it all the time. >> our advanced technology provides us with many benefits. but it also puts us at risk of losing things that we doubt it.
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with digital maps at the fingertips, people will lose their ability to find their way around on 8 it. film cameras, records, and cd's are headed for extinction. newspapers are on their way out. books made of paper on the endangered list. >> i actually did not read -- did read a physical book recently and it was strange to go back when you do not have a button to press. >> personal interactions often replaced by online substitutes. personal privacy, too, is much diminished when so much of everyone's information is owned, bought, and sold by corporations. >> are we becoming one with the machine? are we becoming more dependent to the extent we cannot live without the machine in the long run? are we becoming some sort of hybrid organism? that is an interesting question. >> the answer to that question will help determine the next stage of our evolution.
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